Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blogging, Self Confidence and Body Insecurities


I promised that during April I would share a post about my struggles with self confidence and body insecurities. So this is it, this is the post.  This post is probably the most important and scariest post I've ever written. I swear I won't keep talking about my little health scare or temporary break with social media for much longer. I sort of wrote that post to lead up to this moment here. I just want to touch on it once more so that I can move on through my blogging journey. In the past I have mainly written a craft/handmade type of blog and I love those things but I got to a point with blogging that I felt as if I had put too many rules on myself for my blog. I primarily blogged about those types of things because I wanted my blog to be more of an extension of my handmade business and keep anything really personal out of it. I have to say that that was more uninspiring and stressful than it sounds. I don't know if I purposely blogged that way to keep my struggles with self confidence and my negative thoughts about my appearance away from this blog. I think it was kind of half and half but I really just got tired of being so critical of myself and feeling like I hide a part of my life. Before I got pregnant with Penelope I was a fairly fit person, curvy but fit. I've never struggled with wanting to be stick thin or anything, I actually embrace curves and I think some of the most beautiful women out there have wonderfully curvy bodies. Right before I got pregnant with Penelope I had gained a little bit of weight from some medication I was taking (birth control) and so I stopped taking it and two-three months later I found out I was pregnant. I was nervous about gaining weight with my pregnancy and I did great through the first 5 months. Didn't gain one pound. The last half of my pregnancy I gained 80 pounds. Yes, eighty pounds. I know this is not as uncommon as it sounds but we (the doctors, my husband and I) couldn't really pin-point what was causing me to rapidly gain weight at the end...it just kept happening.  In the picture of me pregnant up above I was about 7-8 eight months along so I ended up gaining most of the weight at the very end. Sometimes 10 pounds a week. It was terrible and I had a c-section with Penelope which had a little bit of a longer recovery time. I still thought that I would be able to lose weight within the year after she was born so I was hopeful. After she was born I felt like I was suddenly in someone else's body. I could barely look at myself in the mirror, I hated being in photos and I felt so self conscious when I would go out in public with Penelope and Josh. See, Penelope and Josh are super thin and fit and it made me feel like such an odd ball. I did my best to lose weight within the first two years of Penelope's life. I tried personal trainers, accountability partners, weight watchers...and I would barely lose weight and be completely fatigued all the time. It was so frustrating and it worsened my issues with self confidence even more.  When Penelope was two I started my own small business and I spent every ounce of energy I had on building up a business that would support me full time. I kept thinking 'once I get going I'll really take care of this weight thing.'  Long story short, my business doesn't leave me a lot of free time or left over energy. I have honestly been so frustrated for the last four years with my appearance and my health. You may or may not notice that I barely share photos of myself on my blog. I do that on purpose. I have a really difficult time looking at photos of myself. I'm very confident with the person I am inside, I love that I put my creative talents to good use, I love being a mom and a wife and all of those good things. I just really dislike my physical appearance. When I was diagnosed with PCOS early March I started researching the symptoms and how PCOS affects your body. I found that PCOS caused weight gain, makes it difficult to lose weight and causes fatigue. It all started to make sense to me. I talked with my doctor about trying to conceive while being overweight and he assured me as long as I'm working on losing weight now and continue to live a healthy life when/if I get pregnant then all was fine. He assured me I was good to go because I am absolutely healthy other than the PCOS. So I guess what I'm trying to say now is that I finally have hope that my life can change, that we can hopefully have a baby someday soon (I am undergoing fertility treatments right now) and I feel like all my self doubt about my appearance isn't completely my fault. Like I haven't failed all on my own here. Like I said before I embrace curvy-ness but I do struggle with the way I look now. I just wanted to put an initial post out here about the struggles I have with my appearance and my health because I absolutely with-out-a-doubt know I'm not the only one who feels this way. I strive to be healthier every day and start loving what I see in the mirror as well.


 I read all sorts of blogs all the time and interact with different internet personalities through the handmade world. Sometimes I feel like I can't ever live up to the ultimate blogging perfection because I don't have the perfect appearance. I think facing a cancer, and other serious illness possibilities last month caused me to really change my perspective on life, the faux internet show of perfection and made me really want to share real life with you. I think my life is beautiful, my flaws, my wild red headed daughter, my loving husband, our messy house, my curves, the body pregnancy has given me, the crayon marks on the walls in our house, the new herb garden growing in our yard, my basket of paints, my overflowing shoe collection, the sink full of dishes, my porch dates with Penelope...it's all beautiful and it's real.

I promise from now on I will work on my insecurities with my appearance and share more outfits and photos of myself. Cause I dress really cute actually. <3

So really, from now on I promise to share a real, flawed but perfectly beautiful life with you here on the Carosello blog.

Dress - Old Navy/ Jacket - Lane Bryant/ Shoes - Target 

Love,
   Erin 

40 comments:

  1. thanks for writing this. i absolutely relate to you, both in the blogging about personal things/business focus, and the struggles with body image. I am currently on vacation in NYC (reading blogs of course) and as I walk down the street and see my reflection in shop windows, I feel so ashamed of the way I look. I had a baby 5 months ago, and still weigh the same as I did the day I left the hospital. It is a combo of a thyroid condition and my lifestyle, but still I just struggle.

    Thanks for being you and being honest.

    Stacie

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  2. Oh Erin, you are such a beautiful woman inside and out! I know being in the blogosphere can add a tremendous amount of stress to our lives, as much of a blessing as it also is. It's just so difficult, especially when body image and pregnancy and the opinions of others factor into it, to maintain confidence that our bodies aren't necessarily always going to work the way it seems other women's bodies work. I'm so thankful that one of the reasons God gave us husbands is to remind us that we are beautiful. I could definitely stand to work on believing my husband more than I believe that critical voice inside. I'm so glad you're reaching a resolution to all the medical things you're going through - and I can't wait to see more beautiful pics of you, lady!

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  3. This is my first visit to your blog, and what a way to start out! I am completely moved and instantly hooked—you have found yourself a soul sister and a fan!

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  4. Erin I love this. I too have PCOS - diagnosed late last year - and couldn't figure out why I gained weight after I got married too. I'm at my heaviest now and it really hit home with me what you said about feeling confident in who I am inside, but not outside. Thank you SO much for sharing this...you are definitely not alone.

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  5. This is such a beautiful post and I'm so thrilled to see YOU! You are beautiful. It is very very hard in this world of blogging when people only share the good stuff. And the perfect people look perfect. Or they seem perfect and they only show the "perfect". It all wears on me tremendously. Everything is focused on material things and beauty. It's hard b/c our businesses are online, so we spend so much online emmersed in this blogging world because of it. That is our water cooler. It's just not a healthy environment to be subjected to day in and day out. That is why I love your post, because it's so raw and honest. We need more of this. My heart goes out to you with the health struggles that you've been through and I wish you luck with the fertility treatments. You are obviously so very loved by your husband, daughter and family. You are one lucky and talented girl! And I feel so excited to have "met" you in this post. :D

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  6. it will bother me if i don't correct my spelling of "emmersed"! immersed! heehee.

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  7. You are gorgeous! I am so happy to get to know you more. I have been fat for a long time and accept my body and size and don't see it as a problem. I hope you start to feel the same way about yourself.

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  8. P.S. I just posted about being the fat blogger and my own insecurities. Something must be in the air!

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  9. I recently started reading your blog and I really appreciate this post. I totally struggle with my body image too after having 4 kids. I hate seeing myself in photos and feel uncomfortable in my skin. Losing weight has been really hard for me too. It's a relief to read your beautiful blog and to read your heart. Thanks for being honest and vulnerable. You're not alone!

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  10. Wow. I'm so glad you wrote this post. I can definitely relate a lot to this. You put a lot into words that I haven't read anyone else talk about so honestly.

    I had a time in my life when I was ultra fit (curvy but fit), but then I moved and life changed. After a lot of family drama and tears and heartache and 80 lbs later, I was a different person. I didn't want to leave the house. I didn't want to look at clothes. I didn't even want to be hugged by my boyfriend because I didn't want him to think I was gross.

    I, too, often feel like I can't be the perfect blogger. I definitely shy away from meeting others because of these insecurities.

    You are so beautiful and I hope to embrace my body as you do soon!

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  11. this is a beautiful post, and you are beautiful. I think we all as bloggers sometimes skip out parts of our lives within our blog to just escape and get away from it and make it a place of everything thats right. Thanks for being so honest and bold to post something so personal to you :) youre amazing!

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  12. love love love this, Erin.
    i have struggled my entire life with my weight and have yo-yoed on the scale for what seems like forever. i know it may not seem like it, but i can totally understand the heartbreak of weight gain and body image issues. i am finally seeking recovery in my life and along the way have realized that i have food addiction issues. it's so difficult to even admit it.

    but this isn't all about me. i just wanted to let you know how proud i am of you, for putting yourself out there, for revealing your deepest of insecurities and for being fearless.

    you are amazing.
    you are inspiring.
    you are beautiful.

    xoxo,
    Andrea

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  13. You my dear i just want to reach through here and hug you and sit and have a coffee and just laugh.

    I know first hand hearing how amazing and beautiful you are never really clicks in when people tell you. But know, you are. Amazing.

    I am so so enjoying and excited about all these real life events and feelings your sharing. You are one of my favourite ladies.

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  14. I love your blog it is refreshing to find a real person on a blog. We are how God made us, and he made us all beautiful. Even with our imperfections we are beautifully and wonderfully made in his image. It is great to have lots of pics of people when they blog because then you know who the person really is, and I am sure an upfront person can be more effective and inspiring than someone without any photos. You are an inspiration to me to Blog more as well. God bless.

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  15. That was a very brave and honest post to write! I personally think you look gorgeous but I do understand what you mean about not feeling like your body is your own. I got really sick about 10 years ago and had the opposite problem where my weight suddenly plummeted. Nobody knew what was wrong and no amount of eating helped! I grew to hate my new body so much that for a while I would only shower at night with the light off so that I wouldn't have to look at myself (I can't believe I'm actually sharing this)! Anyway they finally figured out what was wrong and it took years but I am completely happy with my body for the first time in years. Like you I am trying to work on my confidence and try to feature myself more on my blog. I wish you all the best!
    x
    P.S I started following your blog after stumbling upon your beautiful shop on Etsy.

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  16. I so feel you reading your post. The thing is, what you are going through (with your self-confidence, the weight, health) a lot of us are too. I read your blog since, I don't know, allways :) and till now I haven't commented anything, but now I really had to say, that I am so happy that you shared the true story of yours with us and that a lot of us can feel better about ourselfs now, it's like you speek for many of us out loud. So, thanks!
    Love from Slovenia, Europe

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  17. Thank you so much for your honesty! I totally relate to the private/ business blogging and the body image issues! I, too, have been struggling with my outer appearance for so long and I have tried so many different ways to lose weight as well. Nothing really ever worked to the point where I would be happy with my body. I never ever posted a pic of my whole body and I envy you for your courage and strength, because you are beautiful! I am so sorry for the cancer scare you had to go through, I can only imagine how hard that must have been! Good luck with the fertility treatments, hope a new baby comes soon!
    Thank you for this!
    Hugs xxx

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  18. You are absolutely beautiful inside and out!

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  19. I love getting to "know" you more in these posts. I have always read your blog and thought this person has it all together....even though I logically knew that wasn't the cas.e We all have struggles. You are gorgeous and you DO dress really cute! I am excited to see more of your style :).

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  20. Oh dear, you're absolutely fabulous! Such a beautiful woman, inside and out! Your blog is, for sure, one of my favourites... I'm always thinking when and what you'll post next, and i've only found it recently :)
    I'm a young portuguese blogger (only 19 years old!) and I also have lack of self confidence but I think our followers are always here for us and they have helped me a lot! So put a smile in that beautiful face of yours and trust me, you are gorgeous ! :D

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  21. Thank you for sharing your story, I know that must be difficult, but I also know there are a lot of women out there who feel the same (me being one of them). I actually prefer seeing outfit posts from women who aren't stick thin. It shows that you can have a real body and still look cute. And for the record, I think you are beautiful! This post might even inspire me to share more photos of myself on my blog ;)

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  22. What a beautiful and honest post. Thank you for sharing. :)

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  23. Well done you for putting yourself out there and speaking your mind so well! You look stunning. I'm with you on the whole post baby body issues, i cannot shift the weight and my body is covered in stretch marks, you know when you cant even look at yourself in the nuddey. But i wouldnt change it for the world as it brought my son to me. I too think i will never be a seasoned pro blogger as my face/body just doesnt fit in the mainstream, however i'm happy and so should you be. Your business is amazing and so is your family. You are one lucky lady!
    Thank you for being so honest, its so refreshing to read in the blogging world.
    Take care
    Rachel
    Ps im a fan of your headbands i have two that always get compliments, will be buying more soon too :)xx

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  24. Well I'm honestly at a loss for words. I feel so very loved with all your kind and touching comments. I need to hear that I wasn't alone in it, even though I already knew it. I'm so thankful to have you guys as readers and that you took the time to share your thoughts on my post. Seriously appreciate it more than anything.

    Love you all! From the bottom of my heart.

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  25. I have to admit, I've been a subscriber to your blog for years, but I have been skipping posts for a long while.
    This post is real, true and refreshing. I am also sick of the blog-is-a-business-so-nothing-real-can-happen world.
    Thanks for sharing a great post, I look forward to getting to know you.
    (and that dress is super cute, is it from this season? I may have to hunt it down!)

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  26. My mom is a very curvy woman, we like to say pleasantly plump, and she is the most beautiful woman I know. And I don't say that just because she's my mom but because she is so confident and radiant. I think your curves are great, you look like one of us southern girls:) If you don't love your body just focus on your beautiful face and flawless skin! You're lovely and I think you're the coolest!

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  27. Oh wow! Thank you so much for posting this!! I can relate in so many ways. I gained weight before having my baby and then instead of losing weight after the baby... I've gained more. I'm not happy with the way I look, and I do not like my picture taken. It's been a huge struggle for me.
    You are such a real and genuine person. I've appreciated all your open and honest blog posts lately. So thank you! And BTW... You look beautiful!!!

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  28. Thank you so much for this honest post. You are so beautiful-- and I love that dress in the photo! I've been dealing with the weight gain of about 50 pounds that has happened slowly over the past year as I've dealt with stress of divorce, money, and unhappiness. Now that I'm finally on the other side, I'm trying to be kind to my body in eating well and not being so harsh with myself when I'm not happy with my appearence. It's a tough struggle, but knowing that we all share the same issues helps make things better sometimes too.

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  29. thanks! you rock. for being a mama, a business owner, and a blogger that looks more like me. it is a big burst of fresh, beautiful air.

    ~ Barbie
    @beforeverlovely (twitter)

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  30. You are a very pretty lady. If you haven't read it, get hold of a copy of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, for a celebration of ladies thin and ladies 'traditionally built' and a really moving story.

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  31. All I can say is....Girl you are gorgeous! <3

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  32. "a faux internet show of perfection" This is one of the most succint and beautifully descriptive phrases I've read about the greatest downfall of the amazingly creative and inspiring world of indie-business-crafty-girl internet. This was a wonderful post, and something I totally relate to. Thanks for sharing your story, you are inspiring.

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  33. You are seriously the cutest, and i mean that! I love your hair. Sadly, i just cut all mine off.

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  34. you are beautiful. gorgeous. know it and love yourself. we are all real on the inside, imperfect (and perfect in those imperfections) in spite of the beauty we put out on our blogs. i wrote a bit about my own struggles here: http://mamaforpeace.blogspot.com/2011/03/year-of-choice.html

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  35. Erin, you are beautiful - inside and out. I have been reading your blog only for a little while, but from what I can tell you don't have to hide behind your body insecurities because you actually rock every ounce of yourself amazingly :)

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  36. Thanks so much for sharing this. I feel the same about my body; happy on the inside but not wanting to see the outside :)
    I stopped reading blogs for a good month or two because I was putting myself under alot of pressure to meet the perfection I saw. Thankyou for being honest and bringing everyday life on to your blog. PS, you are beautiful!

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  37. Nice post, I think for self confidence the better thing is speak clear and direct with all people , looking their eyes, lossing our shame

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  38. I think you are absolutely beautiful!

    It's not always easy to have self confidence when the odds are against you (in your case PCOS). I think most people have self confidence issues, whatever the size but we're very good at pretending. The fact that you are stepping up and talking about it is inspirational for the rest of us.

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  39. Wow! This an amazing, amazing post Erin!!!! I missed you!!! My blog kinda fell to the wayside for quiet a while while I was working overtime to support us. I'm prehnant again with our third baby and I've gained 70 Pounds. Did I tell you I gained almost 100 with my first! Yes. True:) I just want you to know I truly truly admit you for writing this post, being so vulnerable and sharing tour story with us. I think as woman many many of is van relate. I was 245 pounds at my heaviest! Anyhow just wanted to cone see you and so glad I did! You look beautiful and I love all your gorgeous outfits!!! Oh and your new blog design looks amazing!!! I have a lot of respect for you Erin!!!

    Xoxo Hanna
    www.bouffeebambini.blogspot.com

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